According to the California Penal
Code, hate crimes are defined as a criminal act committed, in whole or in
part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim:
- Race or ethnicity
- Sexual orientation
- Association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics
It is important to be able to differentiate between hate incidents and hate crimes.
A hate incident is an action or behavior that is motivated by hate, but is protected by the First Amendment Right to freedom of expression. Examples of hate incidents can include: name calling, epithets, distribution of hate material in public places, and the display of offensive hate-motivated material on one’s own property.
The freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. constitution, such as the freedom of speech, allow hateful rhetoric as long as it does not interfere with the civil rights of others. If this type of behavior escalates to threats or criminal activity against a person or property, then it would be classified as a hate crime.
A hate crime is a criminal act, or attempted criminal act committed against a person or his or her property because the person is, or is perceived to be, a member of a protected class.
Hate crimes should be reported to the CSU, Chico Police Department.
If these hate crimes are not reported to law enforcement, the perpetrators will continue to act on their beliefs and continue to pose a threat to society.
What Kinds of Acts are Forbidden by Law?
- Verbal or written threats
- Physical assault or attempted assault
- Vandalism or property damage, including graffiti
The following are indicators that a hate crime may have been committed:
- Perception by the victim that he/she was selected by the perpetrator because of his/her membership in a protected class.
- Written or oral comments by the perpetrator that may indicate a bias.
- Date of incident coincides with a day that is of significance to the victim’s protected class.
- Differences between the race or religion, for example, of the victim and the perpetrator.
- Organized hate group activity in the area.
- You have certain rights under the California Constitution’s Victims' Bill of Rights. For example, you may be entitled to information about the prosecution of the perpetrator, and you may have the right to present a victim impact statement at the time of sentencing.
- You may be entitled to restitution for any loss, damage, or injury that you incurred.
- You are also protected under the Ralph Act and the Bane Act. Under these acts, you could receive up to $25,000 in punitive and compensatory damages in civil court.
- Persons who commit these types of acts can be held criminally and/or civilly responsible. Civil remedies are available even if criminal violations cannot be proven.
Services Available to Hate Crime Victims
CSU, Chico Resources
Community Legal Information Center (CLIC)
Counseling & Wellness Center
Student Judicial Affairs
Diversity & Inclusion Office
Butte County District Attorney’s Office
Butte County Victim Witness
(530) 538-7340 or (530) 891-2812
California Attorney General’s Office of Victims’ Services